Night Guards and Bruxism
When you’re under stress, you do more than worry. You might feel harried or panicked. Your mind goes into overdrive, and your body becomes tense. You might notice that you clench your jaw when you are stressed as well. During the day, you do your best to keep your stress levels down. However, stress doesn’t just affect you during the day. It can also affect you at night. The same tension that occurs during the day can also happen while you sleep, except you have no control over it. As a result, you continue to clench your jaw and possibly grind your teeth, unchecked. This grinding and clenching are known as bruxism, and it can cause serious harm to your teeth and your oral health. Tim Perry, DDS can help to protect your mouth with a mouthguard.
What Else Causes Nighttime Grinding and Clenching?
Stress is one of the biggest causes of bruxism. It is not the only one, however. Bruxism can occur if you consume a lot of caffeine, including coffee, tea, and chocolate, drink alcohol before going to bed, smoke cigarettes, or if you take certain medications. You may also brux if you have crooked teeth or your jaws are misaligned.
Why is Bruxism Dangerous?
The occasional grinding and clenching might not be dangerous, but bruxism that occurs regularly and uninterrupted, like night bruxism, can have serious consequences on your oral health. Grinding can wear away tooth enamel. Severe or long-time bruxism can result in the teeth being worn down to nubs. Bruxism puts extreme amounts of pressure on your teeth, more than they should be exposed to. This can cause the teeth to crack. It can also put too much pressure on the periodontal ligaments, widening them. This can cause your teeth to become loose and unstable.
How is Bruxism Diagnosed?
It can be difficult to tell if you have bruxism, especially if you grind and clench your teeth at night. Some symptoms can let you know that there might be a problem. You may wake up with jaw pain or minor headaches each morning. The pain might be minor at first but worsen over time. A dental exam can help to diagnose bruxism for sure. During your exam, we can check your teeth for signs of excessive or uneven wear as well as damage. If we do notice signs of bruxism, we can then help to determine the cause.
Mouthguards for Treating Nighttime Bruxism
One of the most common treatments for bruxism involves the use of an oral device known as a mouthguard. This is a device similar to a mouthguard that you would wear while playing sports. The difference, however, is that a mouthguard for bruxism is meant to be worn over your teeth while you sleep. Its job is to protect your teeth and absorb the forces your muscles exert to help protect your jaws.
While you could go pick up a mouthguard at the pharmacy, we highly recommend a professional one. We use impressions of your mouth to make a mouthguard fit specifically to your mouth. With a proper fit, your mouthguard will be both effective and comfortable. We also use the highest quality materials for making your mouthguard, which helps to ensure that it lasts.
A mouthguard can be an effective solution for alleviating the pain associated with bruxism while also protecting your oral health. For more information, call Tim Perry, DDS at (318) 516-1700 today.